I can't sleep. It's nearly 3am and I feel like a little kid waiting to go to Disney World for my first time tomorrow. Embarrassed a little? Yeah. I know I'm spoiled. I work in the music industry and because of generous label reps, artists, managers, my friends at the venues combined with my love of music and job, I've seen hundreds upon hundreds of headliners, mid-level stars and emerging artists. And, most of this has been in the past 4 years. Most people I know have a list of THE ARTIST YOU HAVE TO SEE BEFORE YOU DIE. The last one on my list is Bruce Springsteen. I mean, Led Zeppelin isn't THE Led Zeppelin anymore, U2 hasn't put out a real album in a decade, Cash passed before I entered music maturity and my chances of seeing Bob Dylan after the release of Freewheelin' is a few decades late...and I'm only 28. I don't even know who's next after tonight's performance. And I may pre-judging the show I have yet to see, but I'll call tonight a Happening.
I get to see THE Boss tonight.
I think I can blame my mentor back at KBCO who brought me into this beautiful music mess when I was a college intern. He unleashed Bruce on me and drove me to investigate why he was primarily one of the first songwriters, I mean true young-buck songwriters that wasn't afraid to blow the fucking amps, emerge as an American Icon and inspire so many at such a young age. I know I'm a younger Bruce fan and hell, I'm not even from the east coast. Although I've studied it and it's run a heavy course through my heart, my favorite song is not "Born To Run." (Video here) I can't empathize with someone back in '75 going through adolescent turmoils or breakthroughs as this song uppercuts you in the first round with the depth, passion and integrity only a young and roughneck Boss can deliver. I mean seriously, the composition and time spent putting THIS song together speaks volumes for Bruce's impeccable ability at perfection, production, storytelling. The making of just this song has filled many a documentary and web page. The making of the entire album will knock your boots off. But no, this isn't my favorite song and he's not even my favorite artist.
Why then am I so giddy to see such a show? Because he has ingrained his tunes into my soul. Because I am saturated and cognisant of the mark he's left on the history of the music industry as a whole...not just rock and roll. Because I understand what he means to so many other people. And forgive me if you think I'm exaggerating, but because of his iconic stature as the soul of the American lifestyle that Levi's has tried to grasp for oh so long. Because I want to see the man who inspired Peter Gabriel's life-changing movement with Bruce's "standing stretching every nerve." Because I want to partake in the droning "Bruuuuuuuce" that onlookers at the Super Bowl thought were "boooo's." And yes, I'm sad I won't be able to tell my friends and kids (someday, mind you) that I wasn't able to see Bruce with his full E-Street crew. My friends now probably don't even know who Danny Federici is. Most of my generation thinks Max Weinberg is Conan's drummer. Nils Lofgren, Scialfa, Van Zandt, Clemons...I want to see them all.
I do love bluegrass and because of that, my most played Bruce album is probably his tribute to Seeger. But the song I'm most excited to hear? To hear the full story and emotional circumstances involved would require you taking me out for a beer. But, I first heard this song when traveling outside of Amsterdam, staying with some Dutch family friends who brought me to a defunct concentration camp to see where my relatives had passed through before being shipped to Auschwitz. In addition, THEIR friend and her family were personally responsible for saving my German grandmother by hiding her behind a bookcase and feeding her their family's ration of bread during the Holocaust. Knowing that I was American, my host played Bruce over and over and over and over during this emotional trip...and then played the video below for me the moment we got back to his house. It had nothing specific to do with my grandmother, but the tracks were laid and the live release of this song hit me maybe the same way "Born To Run" hit so many back in the 70's. Because of the company I'll be with tonight, my fingers will be slightly crossed and my heart might skip a few beats if Bruce plays one of the very few songs to ever bring me to tears.
I get to see The Boss tonight.